This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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2011 Cinema

Just like I did for books, I’m giving up on individual posts for movies I go to and such.  Instead, going for annual summaries, and seeing if I can catch up that way.  Probably not, but hey, you never know.  The “Cinema” category is movies I actually saw the old fashioned way, going to a theater with popcorn and all that.  Movies we watch at home are treated completely differently…

Anyway, 2011 was not a big movie year for us.  As with the books, I backtrack and cover a second time a couple movies I made individual posts on earlier.  But here we go:

  • 2011-01-17: The King’s Speech – Movie about King George VI and his speech therapy to overcome stuttering.  This movie obviously won a bunch of awards, and I liked it too.  Highly recommended.
  • 2011-01-23: Tron: Legacy – Well, I’m a geek.  Tron was an important movie when I was younger.  Couldn’t miss the sequel could I?  It was a light fluffy movie without too much substance, but it was fun.  Worth a look if you remember the original Tron fondly.
  • 2011-04-17: Hop – A completely forgettable Easter bunny movie. But Alex liked it.  Well, enough to keep quiet during the movie. Unlike movies he REALLY likes, he never really talked about it again.
  • 2011-05-28: Water for Elephants – A movie about circus people in the great depression.  I saw it with my mom.  I enjoyed it.  It pulled the appropriate emotional strings.  Worth seeing.
  • 2011-07-03: Cars 2 – This one broke my heart.  I really liked the original Cars.  It was a love letter to the disappearing American small town, to Route 66, and friendship, and all sorts of nice things.  It was sweet.  It was sappy.  I liked it a lot.  And watched it many many times with Alex.  Usually not all the way from start to finish, but in bits and pieces.  But I liked it.  Cars 2 spit on everything that made the original Cars good.  It was a spy movie!  It was just a bunch of action packed set pieces to build video games around.  There were tons of new characters whose only purpose was to sell toys.  I guess it was an adequate action adventure movie with talking cars (I mean, what do you expect), but it had no SOUL.  The first one left me with a warm fuzzy happy feeling after watching it.  The second one left me cold.  Of course, Alex liked it as much or more than the original, and we ended up with a bunch of toys, so I guess that is what matters, right?
  • 2011-11-26: The Muppets – It was silly.  It was fun.  There were songs.  There were Muppets.  I liked it.  The first time since Jim Henson died that I’ve watched anything with Muppets in it that really felt like it captured the original spirit of the Muppets.  This one was Muppets done right.  If you like Muppets, see it. :-)

And that was it for 2011.  Six movies.  Two of which were “serious” sorts of movies.  Guess that isn’t horrible.

Cinema: Tron Legacy

tlegpostReleased: 2010 Dec 17
Watched: 2011 Jan 23

Hey, I’m not quite two years behind!

Anyway, Amy and I went and saw Tron Legacy.  A few months earlier, we had watched Tron on one of our Family Movie nights to prepare.

It looked cool.  It continued the story from the first movie.  It was a fun fluffy couple of hours.

And that’s about all there is to say about it.  Nothing spectacular.  But worth it for an evening out with some popcorn.

Oh, and they did some neat stuff with de-aging Jeff Bridges.  Not 100% convincing, but good enough.

It could have used some more Bruce Boxleitner though.  I mean, he was in it, but he could have been in it more.  Speaking of that, when are they bringing back Babylon 5?  Or Scarecrow and Mrs King?

It seems it did well enough that they will be making a third Tron.  I’m sure I’ll watch that too.

The King’s Speech

Released: 2010 Sep 6
Watched: 2011 Jan 17

OK, this movie I remember.  Brandy and I did one of our not all that often trips to actually see something in the theater.

Bottom line, I loved it.

It of course won a bunch of awards too.

I like this sort of historical “based on a true story” type of movie though.  They are never exactly true to the history of course, as things are changed for dramatic effect and all.  So what do I do as soon as I get home from the movie?

That’s right, I spend the next several hours reading Wikipedia pages about the characters in the movie, and that moved on to related events and people, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Anyway, great story about a king with a speech impediment and how he overcomes it to make a critical speech at the beginning of World War II.

And now, while writing this post, I find myself once again reading Wikipedia articles, so I should stop and move on.

But hey, if you haven’t seen this yet, and like this sort of historical drama, go rent or buy it or whatnot now.  K?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

I am so way far horribly behind on reporting on books and movies and the like that I have seen or read.  (I am also way behind on posting family photos and videos and the like.)  For instance, on December 12th of last year, we went to see Harry Potter.  So now I actually have a few minutes to do some of these posts.

So…  well…  I must admit I remember very little about this movie.  I vaguely remember seeing it.  A few snatches of a few scenes come back to me.  But basically it wasn’t too particularly memorable.  I’m pretty sure at the time I thought it was fine for a Harry Potter movie, and I’m sure I’ll go out and see the next and final one when it comes out in a few months.

So…  typical Harry Potter fare.  Fun little trip with magic and stuff.  But still your typically disposable summer movie, not something you’ll really be wowed by and remember much of later.  Or at least I didn’t.  :-)

I’m remembering more bits and pieces now.  Like the tent TARDIS.  And multiple Potters.  And such and like that.

Anyway.  All this really proves is that if I’m going to do posts like this at all, I really should do them shortly after watching the movie or reading the book, not many months later.

Oops.

 

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 PosterSo, slowly catching up on these.  A while ago when it came out I really wanted to see Toy Story 3. So, we all went together.  Alex had made it through a couple movies with Brandy.  But this time about 10 minutes in, he was starting to really like the movie…  so yelling at the screen and such.  So, I left and hung out with him elsewhere until the movie was done.  Brandy gave me a gift certificate to go see it again later, since I had been the one who wanted to go in the first place.

So, a month later or so, Brandy and I made a date night of it, leaving Amy home babysitting Alex.

I forgot to bring the gift certificate though.  It is still here on my desk.

Anyway, I of course loved it.  I am an absolute sucker for these kind of movies.  I felt all sad for the toys at the appropriate times.  I felt happy at the appropriate times.  I practically bawled at the ending like any self respecting almost 40 year male old would.  Right?  Right?  Oops, forget I said that.

Anyway, as usual for Pixar stuff, great stuff.  Love it.  They produce wonderful movies.  If you haven’t seen this already, what is wrong with you.  Go see it now.  It is still in the theaters.  If you miss it, be sure to rent it once it is out.

I mean, this isn’t the hight of all artistic efforts ever made, but it is a good fun movie.  And no, you don’t need to have kids or be a kid to enjoy it.

Babies

BabiesDid I mention I was behind in posting about movies we’ve watched?  Yes, I believe I did.  In any case, a few months back I actually took the morning off from work for a day, and we all went to the “Mommy and Me” showing of Babies.  For those not familiar with the concept, the theater sets up in a way geared toward people bringing very small children, meaning newborns up through maybe age three seeming to be the most common age.  They leave the lights turned up part way.  The volume isn’t as loud as it might normally be.  They let you order snacks from your seat and have people bring them to you so you don’t have to gather all of your stuff, etc.  Nobody blinks about moms nursing in the theater, or babies crying, or slightly older ones running around a little, etc.  The whole point is letting you be able to go see a movie and not worry about that even though you have an infant or toddler.  Some of the older kids may start to enjoy the movie itself to, but the main point is for the parents I think.  Brandy has been to several of these with Alex, but we decided we’d all go to this one together.

It was a lot of fun.  Alex payed attention for a bit, then fell asleep, then payed attention again for a bit.

So, the movie itself.  For those who haven’t heard of it, it is basically a no-commentary, almost no-words documentary where they just had camera crews shadow four different babies from four completely different parts of the world for their first year or two and see what they saw.  So basically you get 79 minutes of watching four babies be cute, and noticing the differences (and similarities) between the four kids and their families.

And, so, well, it was cute.  As long as you went into it with the expectation that all you would be getting was an extended look at babies doing stuff, then you got exactly what you expected and you could enjoy it and go “awww” at all the appropriate moments and cock your head to the side when you saw one of the non-american babies doing something you would never (or at least rarely) see here.  (For instance, fighting with a goat and a chicken over who gets a bed or something.)

Anyway, cute movie.  Probably more so if there is, is about to be, or recently was an infant in your life.

This is long gone from the theaters by now, but if you are into the “hey, let me spend time looking at something cute that doesn’t even pretend to have a plot or a point” kind of thing, then go ahead and rent this.  :-)

Avatar

So yes, Amy and I did see Avatar.  (Brandy and Alex stayed home.)  And no, although it was by new means new when we saw it, it wasn’t just last week or anything either, I am just way behind in posting these sorts of things.

We saw it in a real Science Center IMAX place (not one of those fake multi-plex IMAXes) and of course in 3D.

Of course, I have nothing of real value to add that hasn’t been said many hundreds of times over about this movie.  It is indeed visually impressive.  The technological advances involved in making something like this are exiting.  It is good stuff on that front.

On the story front it is pretty formulaic and predictable, but it is one of those movies where that is not the point, and you are supposed to just hang on and enjoy the ride rather than spend much time on deep thoughts about the plot, what anything means, or about the actual characters.  Which is fine.

But one thing I could not forgive…  the floating mountains.  Really??  And without so much as a throw away line trying to explain it.  OK, maybe a throw away line saying people still didn’t understand or some such.  But not even a “the insides are filled with helium” or something.  Come on!  At least try!  But again, it doesn’t matter in the end I guess.

I’m sure everybody who wants to see this already has.  So, you know, whatever.  But it is worth seeing.  And it is worth seeing in IMAX and in 3D.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

GijoemovieposterI’m going to stop putting things like “Cinema:” in the titles, as anybody who cares can see the category or tags, or just figure it out.  Just sayin.

Anyway, first of all, I just want to emphasize…  Brandy and I did NOT want to see this movie.  We did not choose it, we would never choose it, etc.  However, Amy wanted to see a movie with a couple of her friends.  And, well, due to some unpleasantness earlier this summer, for the moment she is no longer allowed to see movies without at least one parent also present.  But we wanted to be nice and let her go out anyway.  So we agreed to let her go with the condition that we would be sitting in the theater too, although not right next to her and her friends.  And of course the movie this group of three kids chose was this one.  I had heard nothing but bad things about it.  I did not have high expectations.

Brandy’s reactions on leaving the theater were all along the lines of “This is the worst movie I’ve ever seen”, “How do I get those two hours back”, “That was horrible”, etc.  So we know how she feels.

For me, it was pretty stupid and worthless, but given the negative hype, I actually expected worse.  So I was actually mostly OK with it.  There were random people running around and things blowing up and stuff.  There were people who if they can act were not showing it here.  There was awful dialog.  But, you know, whatever.  I ate a bunch of buttered popcorn, so all was OK in the world I guess.  Was it good?  No.  Not even close.  Was it pretty bad, yes, OK, it was.  But it wasn’t the painful kind of bad, it was just the waste of time sort of bad.  And lets be honest, if I’d been at home would I have done anything really useful?  No, probably not.  So, you know, whatever.

Except of course that it cost money.  OK, now I’m mad.  This cost money.  Ouch.  OK, that sucks.  OK, if this ever comes on TV and you are completely bored and have absolutely nothing else to do, OK, feel free to leave it on and watch.  But under no circumstances watch this in any way that requires you to pay for it.  That’s about right.